The UT football team played host to MAC opponent Central Michigan the day after the Thanksgiving holiday in its final regular season game of 2018 at the Glass Bowl.
The Rockets are coming off of an impressive team win against Kent State and sought to end the regular season on a good measure against the lowly Chippewas from Central Michigan.
Coming into the contest, the Rockets had already clinched their ninth consecutive winning season at 6-5, but one more win didn’t hurt.
This seeming depletion was apparent in the early stages of the game as the Rockets looked dominant on both sides of the ball.
On their second possession of the contest, the Rockets found the end zone in the form of a one-yard run from Art Thompkins. The drive was impressive, spanning nine plays and 72 yards.
The end zone did not have to wait long for the Rockets to be back. Just two minutes of game time passed before running back Bryant Koback punched in a 14-yard touchdown to push the Rockets ahead, 14-0. The scoring drive was set up by a 32-yard punt return from fourth-year wideout Cody Thompson.
As the action slowed, the Rockets’ defense did not. Constant attack and pressure on the Chippewas’ offense led to easy and often scoring opportunities for the Rockets’ offense.
The start of the second quarter saw a 33-yard Jameson Vest field goal that propelled the Rockets’ lead to 17.
Central Michigan proceeded to not find any momentum on offense in the second quarter, and the Rocket offense did. Koback punched in another score, this time from eight yards out to give the Rockets a 24-0 lead that stayed true through halftime.
Out of the break, the dismay continued for the Chippewas. On the first play of the second half, Chippewa quarterback George Pearson was picked off by linebacker Tyler Taafe, who took it to the house to ignite the Glass Bowl crowd, and all but guaranteed a Rocket victory up 31-0.
After watching all the fun his team was having, Rocket quarterback Eli Peters joined in as well. He connected with explosive wideout Jon’Vea Johnson for a 44-yard strike for a touchdown.
Central Michigan got on the board in the fourth quarter, with a fumble recovery touchdown, and later, a Pearson touchdown strike to make the blowout look better.
The Rockets also added two touchdowns in the fourth as well. One came as a 12-yard run from Shakif Seymour and a Nevon McCrimmon run from 45-yards out.
The final score was 51-13, favoring the Rockets. The offense shined once again, going just shy of 500 yards and rushing for 273 yards with its assorted, yet very talented running backs.
After the game, the Rockets received an invitation for the Bahamas Bowl to face the Florida International Panthers.
“I’m really excited for those guys, I’m really happy for their emotion they got going on down there in the locker room,” head coach Jason Candle said. “Hopefully, this provides us one more opportunity to be together.”